Where did breastfeeding mums pump at the Oscars?

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Though the Oscars are making efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity, they seem to have overlooked some things

It was a night of glamor when all of the stars stepped out decked in couture and designer jewelry. Suffice it to say, it’s been dubbed ‘Hollywood’s Biggest Night’ for a reason.

Though the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (also known as the Oscars) did make facilities available for breastfeeding mothers upon request, lactating mothers were apparently not informed of this beforehand.

The Academy reportedly has, for years, given access to a “multi-use nurses’ station” just near the main lobby of the Dolby Theatre. The nursing station is fully set up with a partition and a refrigerator for milk storage. Private bathrooms were also available.

Those who inquired were granted passes to use the space. It didn’t matter if they were celebrities or not.

A reporter for the L.A. Times ran into Best Supporting Actor nominee Tom Hardy in the lobby waiting for his wife to finish pumping in the bathroom, something she has to do every hour.

Where did breastfeeding mums pump at the Oscars?

Tom Hardy with wife Charlotte Riley at the 88th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, California

Though the Oscars did provide a “space”, the extra step of having to find a member of the staff to help them gain access to it adds an extra step which will prove to be a hassle. Because a woman needs to pump when she needs to pump, without having to wait for anyone’s “approval”.

The general nurses station also raises questions about hygiene, because, essentially these mums are producing food for their baby, whose immune system is still developing.

Other celebrity mums-to-be at the event were Emily Blunt, Chrissy Teigen, and Anne Hathaway but even these A-list mums who were positively glowing and stunning would one day have to slip away from the red carpet to attend to their nursing needs.

Back in 2013, singer Adele told the Guardian after she gave birth that during the Golden Globes and Oscars,  she was “running to the toilets…to pump and dump. Which loads of people were doing…All these Hollywood superstars, lined up and breastfeeding in the ladies.”

It’s not a “Diva Request”

The simplest risk for breastfeeding in ladies’ room is the persistent presence of fecal bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, which are there even in the cleanest of facilities.

It’s not a “diva” request. There were reportedly no signages at the Oscars to inform new mums that they had the option to request for a “pass” to a nursing station.

The parts of the pump need to be kept as sterile as possible and mums need to assemble it and so, they really need a clean environment to do so.

And it doesn’t even need to be a fancy room, it just has to be clean enough to make food for your baby.

Think of it like a kitchen. Would you want your food to be prepared inside a lavatory?

In response to heavy criticism due to the apparent “lack of diversity” in this year’s crop of nominees, Academy president Cheryl Boone-Isaacs emphasised their commitment to being inclusive in all their activities and initiatives.

Though this may be unintentional, it’s so important to be aware of the true meaning of inclusivity, in its smallest and grandest forms.

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Written by

Bianchi Mendoza